Hughenden & Porcupine Gorge

8th April 2019

Main St in Hughenden, part of the Dinosaur Tourist Trail.

Main St in Hughenden, part of the Dinosaur Tourist Trail.

Going to Hughenden has been on my bucket list for a very long time. Especially during my schooling and young adulthood I met many people from this area. My son is currently based at Hughenden hospital for a couple of months so my wife and I made the 8 hour drive each way to visit him. It was so worth it.

As you drive out from Hughenden the first road sign for Porcupine Gorge will be to this lookout. The lookout is situated over a dogleg in the Gorge and you can view down into the Gorge to the left and right.

I visited the Gorge twice that day. The first time was at sunrise alone as my wife would not get up at 4am to go with me :( Later in the day I returned to the Gorge with my wife and son and the two photos above were taken then.

I suck at astro photography but if you are good at it, Hughenden is a great place.

I suck at astro photography but if you are good at it, Hughenden is a great place.

This nightscape was taken early morning on my first visit as I waited for the sun to rise. I suck at astro photography but had a go anyway as the milky way was visible and I had nothing else to do. I light painted the gum tree during the exposure.

With no city light pollution the stars are amazing in this area. Next time I go back I will practise some more to see if I can get a half decent photo.

The walk from the Pyramid Camping grounds into the Gorge.

The walk from the Pyramid Camping grounds into the Gorge.

One you leave the first lookout if you get back onto the road and drive a bit further away from Hughenden you come to a second lookout at the Pyramid Camping grounds which has the only walking track into the Gorge.

As you walk down into the Gorge the views are spectacular. The contrast in the rock colours and shapes is beautiful. The first time I walked down was in the dark. The photos above were taken at about 3pm during my second walk down with my wife and son. In the morning or late afternoon light the colours would be even more beautiful.

Just after first light with the morning sun cutting through a small creek to the left of the Pyramid.

Just after first light with the morning sun cutting through a small creek to the left of the Pyramid.

Once at the bottom of the Gorge if you turn to the right you see the Pyramid. It was still a bit dark when I arrived at the bottom so I decided to walk as far left as I could before the sun started to shed light on the Gorge.

It would be later when I walked up to the Pyramid that I would discover why the sun hit the face so much earlier than the rest of the Gorge. As you look directly at the Pyramid on the left hand side is a creek that cuts through the land and allows the low morning sun to illuminate the Pyramid.

The sun rising as I walk back towards the Pyramid.

The sun rising as I walk back towards the Pyramid.

As I walked back towards the Pyramid golden hour was starting and the colours were appearing. The water is running at the moment and the temperature was beautiful as I waded in shallow parts of the river.

The Pyramid with the sun now higher casting tree shadows into the Gorge.

The Pyramid with the sun now higher casting tree shadows into the Gorge.

This was probably my favourite period in the morning just before the sky got way too bright. From sunrise until about 8am I had the Gorge to myself. I met one other and he soon disappeared and I was alone again.

The photo of the Pyramid everyone takes.

The photo of the Pyramid everyone takes.

Every famous location has the one photo that everyone takes and I am pretty sure this is the one for the Gorge. You will find a photo taken from this spot on the main road sign to Porcupine Gorge.

I am not that much into taking cliche photos so I waited for about 20 minutes trying to get calm water and a clear reflection and then gave up. Really needed some clouds in the sky but on this clear day this is as good as I got and moved on as the sun was getting too bright and there were other things to see.

Rock formations above the river filled with water from the rain.

Rock formations above the river filled with water from the rain.

This water is not the river. To get the reflection of the Pyramid from direct on there needs to be water in the rock formations that are elevated from the river. With all the recent rain you have many options.

Turning the other direction down the Gorge reveals a rockscape forged by water. It was just so special to pretty much have it all to myself and the ability to walk anywhere.

As clouds came and went and the sun rose the colours changed.

As clouds came and went and the sun rose the colours changed.

With out a doubt the strongest colours in the rocks was just after sunrise. It was interesting to see them fade as the sun got higher during the morning and then for the colour to come back as a cloud diffused the light from the sun.

The photos above should give you some idea of the scale of the Pyramid. It is very impressive. These were taken on my second visit that day as my son and I cooled off with a swim and my wife admired the Pyramid from the shade.

If you can I would suggest going early morning or late afternoon as the colours in the rocks are much stronger in the softer light.

Sunset from the banks of Flinders River before heading to the pub.

Sunset from the banks of Flinders River before heading to the pub.

Back in Hughenden we enjoyed some great country hospitality and some beautiful sunsets from the Flinders river. Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful.

Do not expect too much with accomodation. We had no complaints but if you want 5 star then you will not find it in Hughenden…but that is not what you go there for IMO.

Food at the two pubs we ate at was excellent and the regular breakfast meal at the Windmill Cafe was huge and the coffee great. I have no idea what the big breakfast was on the menu but I doubt I could eat it all.

I cannot wait to go back to Hughenden!

David Taylor